The circles are signposts for reincarnated Scientologists who come from outer space.
Hubbard's words provided clarity for Cruise, showing him the chaos and evil in the world's events from a broader perspective. The vision of time that Scientology provided was inviting. It removed the uncertainty and the desolation that presented itself, by revealing the bigger battle that had been running over several millennia, of which these Rashes of devastation were just a part. For Tom, the days of hiding in the shadows were over; he now saw himself as part of his faith's larger purpose. More had to be done by everyone, but on Tom's shoulders rested even greater responsibility. With his fame came a duty to bring Scientology to the masses. (Andrew Morton's, Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography, P. 233)
Around the same time that Andrew Morton’s book was published, a nine-and-a-half-minute video of Tom Cruise discussing his spiritual beliefs. About four minutes into Part 1, when the narrator proclaims Cruise's place in the church's hierarchy, he says, "Someone advancing Scientology on a fully epic scale … and he is Class 4! OT-7! Platinum Meritorious! And IAS Freedom Medal of Valor winner … Tom Cruise!" The most jarring moment according to many, concerns the "Detoxification Project" Scientologists arranged for Ground Zero rescue workers. Here, 50 seconds into Part 2, we see the actor striding through the ruins of the World Trade Center while talking on his cell phone. The choicest bit might be at the 2:45 mark in Part 3: the sight of the star giving a "backstage briefing" to a reporter, that is, firmly instructing a fellow leaving a junket that psychiatry is "crimes against humanity." And three and half minutes through Part 5, Cruise eve addresses L. Ron Hubbard directly, turning his head and talking to what looks like a 15-foot-tall oil portrait.
Scientology's proclaimed intention to create a global revolution of the human mind, to "Clear the Planet," that is to help every individual to a certain state of religious consciousness, is in fact Hubbard's plan. The organization is, in a way, his "body" much in the same way as the Christian church is identified as the "body of Christ." The salvation of humankind (or the single individual) in this case, depends on direct access to only L.Ron Hubbard's legacy as it incarnates in Scientology's organizations and the texts through which he is routinized.
This new religious tradition that has emerged over the years, has to fulfill two different purposes: it has to provide the means for salvation (ritual therapy, intellectual education, etc.), and at the same time encourage the adoration of Hubbard.
According to the Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism, 2005, p. 1049: "Because of the nature of its worldview, Scientology can be seen as belonging within the domain of Western esotericism."
One could ad to this, that Scientology
could also be called "esoteric" in the sense of, a secret religious
In fact the first direct record of Hubbard being involved with a Church during his adult life, comes from his late 1945, visit to "The Church of Thelema" at 1003 Orange Grove Avenue, in Pasadena near Los Angeles.
Hubbard must have liked it for early January 1946, he went to live there and became a member of the so called 'Agape' (belonging to the Ordo Templi Orientis headed by Aleister Crowley) lodge. Its Grand Master, John Whiteside Parson claims in his unpublished "The Book of Babalon" (completed c. 1950), that he was impressed by Hubbard's grasp of Aleister Crowley's teachings, on which the grade system in the Agape lodge was based. (The manuscript can be viewed at the London Warburg Institute's Gerald Yorke Collection). See also.
As for his friend Jack Parson, according to Hugh B. Urban, “Hubbard turned out to be a devious charlatan” who ran of with Parson’s partner “Betty and $10,000 of his money.” (Urban, Magia Sexualis, October 4, 2006, p.137)
Hubbard announced in 1952 that Aleister Crowley (whom he never met) was his " very good friend." (Philadelphia Doctorate Course, 1952, Lectures 18, 35, 40).
According to “Ron Jr.,” his father furthermore told him that Scientology began the day Aleister Crowley died.
Later Hubbard (for example in his poetic booklet ‘Hymn of Asia’) would style himself as the future Buddha Maitreya. This representation is also in line with the opening chapters of the ‘Phoenix Lectures’, and the reference to a ‘Western Buddha’ can also be found in the opening chapters of Scientology’s ‘Volunteer Ministers Handbook’.
At the time he lived with Parson's O.T.O. group Hubbard had an unpublished science fiction novel for which he couldn't find a publisher, hence a co-writer advised him to title it 'Excalibur'.
It concerned a galactic overlord called Xenu, who banished millions of his subjects to the 'prison planet' Earth. A subject that became a central myth of Scientology crowning it in 1967 with its (at the time very expensive) OT 3(III) level.
The reported claim by Dr. Blanche Pritchett, that the manuscript that following the advice of Arthur J. Burks came to be titled ‘Excalibur’, was “ psychically” dictated to L. Ron Hubbard -- is interesting for this could explain why Parson was impressed enough with Hubbard to appoint him as a scryer. (Bent Corydon & L. Ron Hubbard, Jr., L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman?, 1987, pp. 256-7, the latter however use the term skryer, which means the same).
Thereafter, apparently, Hubbard became enough of a pragmatist to realize if he were to use the story of Xenu and the fate of the banished aliens as the foundation for his own religious creation, he first needed a pull in. And thanks to Freud, and on the back of a wave of a renewed interest in mysticism and self exploration Hubbard started to write what would a few years later would become his first non-fiction book. It allowed Hubbard to attract what under his guidance became unqualified mental practitioners who came to believe they were the vanguard of a new civilization, and thus avert the coming apocalypse.
Personally however, I do not believe that Aleister Crowley was a significant source for Hubbard’s mature worldview. On the other hand, it is certainly true that Hubbard did research the role of magic and magical traditions, and he started well before meeting Jack Parsons or hearing of Crowley at the Agape Lodge. However, the fact that Hubbard’ studied magic does not mean that he accepted it. In advance of his times, he recognized the historical role of magic as an important system of thought throughout Western history. But he concluded that it was not a system that would solve the basic human problems.
But there is, of course, a Gnostic core of Scientology when according to Hubbard, in the beginning, there were the “thetans,” pure spirits who created MEST (matter, energy, space, and time), largely for their own pleasure. Unfortunately, incarnating and reincarnating in human bodies, the thetans came to forget that they had created the world and to believe that they were the effect rather than the cause of the physical universe. As a consequence, they remained entrapped in the MEST universe, unable to escape, yet maintaining a feeling that escape was needed.
It seems that Hubbard researched magic because he regarded as interesting its claim that it was possible to transcend the normal relations of cause and effect, thanks to alternative forms of knowledge and ritual practices. Eventually, however, Hubbard elaborated a very different system.
After all, Scientology does not have magical evocations or rituals and does not deal in spells, occult paraphernalia or the power of the true will in a Crowleyan sense. Scientology, as was stated by Hubbard, is a Gnostic religion, not a magic system.
In May 1950 “Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science”, pp. 43-87 of Astounding Science Fiction, vol. XLV, no. 3, became the first introduction of Dianetics, to the public.
It was developed and expanded upon over the years, and eventually became part of an apparently vast body of 'research' that Hubbard called 'The Tech' (as in Technology) which he made available to his followers; for a price. In the full book version of Dianects Hubbard's "Reactive Mind" apparently derived from Freud's "Unconscious," and his notion that this mind thinks in identities was earlier published in Korzybski's General Semantics.
On April 24, 1951 however, “The Times Herald” in Washington D.C., revealed that Hubbard’s wife Betty, testified in a divorce suit that "competent medical advisors recommended that Hubbard be committed to a sanitorium for psychiatric observation and treatment of an ailment known as paranoid Schizophrenia."
Beneath the seductive smiles, Scientology was a paranoid movement reflecting the schizophrenic personality of the founder, a dogmatic cult dedicated to world domination, dismissive of other religions like Christianity and Buddhism, and accusing psychiatrists and other health workers of being responsible for all the ills on the planet since the dawn of time. (A.Morton, Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography, P.103)
In fact a thread that runs right through all, of Hubbard's lectures and writings from the early years to his last incoherent broadcast in 1979 is that of impending doom. And Scientologists who generally view the world around them with mistrust, are reported to be inculcated with a similar outlook.
OT students had to get rid of the 'psychic energy' of almost all people they had been in contact with, including friends, close family members and especially their parents who were claimed to "still control" them.
In this context see also Hubbard's claim (taking that thetan elsewhere in pop. psychology is called the soul/higher self) that; "The body is pretty crazy. When the thetan agrees too much thetan + body are crazy = insanity. The body goes easily into a somnolence. If the body can be made not to interfere for a short time, the (thetan) can be exteriorized and worked" (Handwritten by Hubbard on July 19, 1953).
The body thetans idea is similar to Gurdjieff's `Organ Kundabuffer': an organ supposedly implanted (long ago) in human bodies in order to twist their perception of reality. The whole of Gurdjieff's work was aimed to destroy the consequences of this Organ (as repeated many times in his Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson book). Gurdjieff is best described in the article by J. Dobrowolski, Guru Gurdjieff (2006).
The first page of OT III, written in Ron Hubbard's own hand:
Hubbard's descriptions of extraterrestrial conflicts were put forward as early as 1952 and were enthusiastically endorsed by Scientologists, who documented their past lives on other planets (published in 1960 as Have You Lived Before This Life).
However, the idea that Earth is a prison planet, maintained by "entheta" [evil] beings or Targs who dumped their enemies on Earth, was first publicly put forward in a taped demonstration of Scientology auditing recorded in April 1952 and released as "Electropsychometric Scouting: Battle of the Universes". In many respects, OT III is virtually a retelling of this early tape, delivered in the first month of Scientology's existence. Hubbard describes how entheta beings defeat mutinous "theta" [good] beings and decided that "the battleground is too rough and these things have mutinied so let's put 'em all in one place and lock 'em on to Earth." The entheta beings were "controlled over by religion"; Mary Sue Hubbard asks "Is that when Christianity came into being?" to which Hubbard replies, "That's an entheta operation." Communism is also apparently "their great success" — "anybody who thinks in this society is immediately attacked, you're surrounded by Targs." A steady flow of flying saucers is still dropping off more entheta beings. The "Battle of the Universes" tape is no longer available from the Church of Scientology.
Many people characterize the story put forward in OTIII as the core of Scientology, and Scientologist's must not only accept the following as reality (all the further OT levels are build on it) but also experience the following as reality.
Basically OTIII claims that 75 million years ago, the galactic overlord for this sector of the galaxy was called Xenu. He was in charge of 76 planets, including Earth at that time known as Teegeeack. The body thetans idea is similiar to Gurdjieff's `Organ Kundabuffer': an organ supposedly implanted (long ago) in human bodies in order to twist their perception of reality. The whole of Gurdjieff's work was aimed to destroy the consequences of this Organ (as repeated many times in his Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson book)."
All of the planets Xenu controlled were over-populated by, on average, 178 billion people. Social problems dictated that Xenu rid his sector of the galaxy of this overpopulation problem, so he developed a plan. Xenu sent out tax audit demands to all these trillions of people. As each oneentered the audit centers for the income tax inspections, the people were seized, held down and injected with a mixture of alcohol and glycol, and frozen. Then, all 13.5 trillion of these frozen people were put into spaceships that looked exactly like DC8 airplanes, except that the spaceships had rocket engines instead of propellers.
Xenu's entire fleet of DC8-like spaceships then flew to planet Earth, where the frozen people were dumped in and around volcanoes in the Canary Islands and the Hawaiian Islands. When Xenu's Air Force had finished dumping the bodies into the volcanoes, hydrogen bombs were dropped into the volcanoes and the frozen space aliens were vaporized.
However, Xenu's plan involved setting up electronic traps in Teegeeack's atmosphere which were designed to trap the souls or spirits of the dead space aliens. When the 13.5 trillion spirits were being blown around on the nuclear winds, the electronic traps worked like a charm and captured all the souls in the electronic, sticky fly-paper like traps.
The spirits of the aliens were then taken to huge multiplex cinemas that Xenu had previously instructed his forces to build on Teegeeack. In these movie theaters the spirits had to spend many days watching special 3-D movies, the purpose of which was twofold: 1) to implant into these spirits a false reality, i.e. the reality that WOGS (Hubbard's derisory term for anyone not a Scientologists) know on Earth today; and, 2) to control these spirits for all eternity so that they could never cause trouble for Xenu in this sector of the Galaxy. During these films, many false pictures and stories were implanted into these spirits, which resulted in the spirits believing in all the things that control mankind on Earth today, including religion. The concept of religion, including God, Christ, Mohammed, Moses etc., were all an implanted false reality that to this very minute are used to control WOGS on Earth.
When the films ended and the souls left the cinema, they started to stick together in clusters of a few thousand and remained that way until mankind began to inhabit the Earth. Today on Earth all the spirits of these aliens have attached themselves to our bodies and are the root cause of the false reality that all but Scientology's "Homo Novis" or OT 8's on earth experience. It is the job of all Scientologists to remove this false reality from the world by auditing each and every space alien spirit and human on earth and the entire universe to CLEAR.
Thus in effect, OTIII is to train the Scientologist to project intention to control others through many-times-repeated practice in communicating to imaginary souls within their bodies. The Operating Thetan levels four to seven those imaginary souls, can also be interpreted for example as the demons of Christian belief, making the "OT levels" an expensive form of exorcism.
In his last book, Hubbard then would retell his original story that made it into OTII; and his friend Arthur J. Burks initially suggested to call it Excalibur--finally came to fruition with "Battlefield Earth" (1984).
That also his leaning towards the occult continued is for example, evidenced by his 1952 lectures, where he referred to the Tarot cards, saying that they were not simply a system of divination but a "philosophical machine". He gave particular mention to the Fool card, saying "The Fool of course is the wisest of all. The Fool who goes down the road with the alligators barking at his heels, and the dogs yapping at him, blindfolded on his way, he knows all there is to know and does nothing about it ... nothing could touch him" (Hubbard, Philadelphia Doctorate Course, lecture 1, "Opening: What is to be done in the Course".)
More important, Scientology apparently, attempted to reclaim documents which recorded Hubbard later magical practices in its case against former Hubbard archivist Gerald Armstrong. In one document that was made public, Hubbard wrote; “That my magical work is powerful and effective.”… “The voice of your holy Guardian is distinct from all the rest. It comes to you loud and clear. You can see her with brilliant clarity when you wish.” (© 2000 Gerry Armstrong)
Here is what Hubbard's son had to say about Hubbard's research:
Affidavit of Ronald DeWolf
a.k.a. L. Ron Hubbard junior
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
LA VENDA VAN
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OF
I, Ronald DeWolf, formerly L. Ron Hubbard, Jr., hereby do and state as follows under the penalties of perjury:
1. I have personal knowledge of the facts set forth in this affidavit.
2. I am the oldest son of L. Ron Hubbard, having been born on May 7, 1934 in Encinatas, California.
3. Between 1949 and 1959 my father and I worked together on a regular basis in organizing, developing and promoting many organizations and corporations. which collectively became known as the Church of Scientology.
4. My father promoted the Church of Scientology with the sale of his books and publications based on his Various theories relating to the "science of mind" as the most "exact science" ever developed. He represented in writing in most of the Church publications that he possessed degrees from George Washington University, Princeton University, that he was a nuclear physicist, that he served four years in combat, was seriously wounded and healed his war wounds with his theories on the "science of the mind", which is the foundation of Scientology. Throughout the development years of Scientology and to the present date, the Church of Scientology has made the foregoing representations and most individuals who have joined the organization that I personally know, relied specifically on my father's represented qualifications and credentials. The stated representations are all false. He never obtained degrees from those universities, or ever served in combat. He was relieved of duty three times as being unfit, and ended up in a psychiatric hospital at the end of the war. He is a fraud and has always been a fraud.
5. My father's fraudulent conduct is exemplified in the structure of his corporations including the Church of Scientology of California. In connection with each and every corporation which we created under general heading of 'the Church of Scientology', my father always required all of the Directors and Officers of all corporations to give him undated signed resignations in advance which he held. In that manner, he always has retained complete control over every corporation including its bank accounts. In the early years, my father regularly emptied out these corporation bank accounts whenever the A.M.A., or a local district attorney, etc. posed a threat to one of his organizations.
A copy of express instructions on this point in my father's handwriting is enclosed.
6. My father represented orally and in writing that his theories relating to the "science of the mind" were based on 30 years of case studies conducted on a scientific basis by him as a nuclear physicist and scientist. Most people that I knew who paid money to my father's corporation to learn about this science also relied on the above stated representations in addition to my father's credentials. Similarly, the above stated representations are false. My father wrote his books off the top of his head based on his imagination. There were no case studies. He is not a nuclear physicist and flunked nearly all of his science related courses in high school and college.
7. My father obtained the rights to the E-meter in 1952 from Volney Mathison in the same manner that he does everything - through fraud and coercion. My father learned about the E-meter from Mathison who developed it and my father fraudulently extracted those rights from Mathison so that my father could use it in Scientology auditing.
8. My father has always used the confidential information extracted from people during auditing sessions to intimidate, threaten and coerce them to do what he wanted, which often meant getting them to give him money. My father routinely used false threats and auditing information particularly about crimes people had committed to extort money from them.
9. My father has always held out Scientology and auditing to be based purely on science and not on religious "belief" or faith. We regularly promised and distributed publications with "scientific guarantees". This was and has always been common practice. My father and I created a "religious front" only for tax purposes and legal protection from fraud claims. We almost always told nearly everyone that Scientology was really science, not a religion, but that the religious front was created to deal with the government.
10. My father's basic policies relating to "suppressive persons", "Fair Game", "attack the attacker", etc. have always been and will always be an integral part of Scientology. The organizational structure of Scientology and the theories of Scientology cannot operate and Scientology would not be Scientology without such policies. The entire basis of my father's "science" is the suppressive person theory, just as Nazism would not be Nazism without the theories of Aryan supremacy and anti-semitism. My father and I discussed the basic theories of dealing with suppressive persons, such as what eventually became designated as the "Fair Game Doctrine", on many occasions. These policies have never changed.
Signed under the pains and penalties of perjury
// - RONALD DeWOLF End document
Hubbard's church was essentially a franchising operation, expanding its membership by licensing individuals known as mission holders to set up branches in various parts of the country. Like any pyramid selling scheme, the higher up the chain, the more an individual earned. Typically, a Scientologist who introduced "fresh meat" into the church would earn a lifetime commission of 10 percent, plus more on book sales.
During the 1960s and '70s, Hubbard built up the biggest private intelligence agency in the world, hiding behind the shield of the First Amendment to attack, harass, and defame. Church intelligence agents were taught how to make anonymous death threats, smear perceived critics, forge documents, and plan and crecute burglaries. They used all means necessary to "shudder into silence"-Hubbard's charmless phrase-any opposition. Lying by a Scientologist, if it served the cause, was not only a right but a duty, Hubbard insisted in Technique 88: "The only way you can control people is to lie to them. You can write that down in your book in great big letters."
As all critics were by definition criminals, their crimes cried out to be publicly exposed. "Start feeding lurid, blood sex crime, actual evidence on the attackers to the press," Hubbard wrote in 1966, this attitude codified in a policy known misleadingly as "Fair Game," where a critic "may be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed." Not surprisingly, an exhaustive investigation into Scientology by the Australian government in 1965 concluded: "Scientology is evil; its techniques are evil; its practice is a serious threat to the community, medically, morally, and socially; and its adherents are sadly deluded and often mentally ill."
Scientology practiced what it preached-to chilling effect. Church members were deliberately infiltrated into government agencies as well as newspapers, anticult groups, psychiatric and medical associations, and other organizations deemed antithetical to Scientology. The church's most audacious espionage conspiracy-at least so far publicly known-took place during the 1970s. Code-named Operation Snow White, it involved the systematic wiretapping, theft, and burglary of eleven government and nongovernment buildings, including the IRS and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General of the United States. Scientology spies had even amassed a dossier on then President Nixon.
Recently, Jason Beghe, revealed that he’d
paid about $160,000 for a single set of procedures called “L Rundowns,” and
over his entire career gave Scientology about a million dollars. Such lavish
amounts for religious instruction, Scientology’s critics say, is what allows it
to spend so much fighting its foes.
The Secret Vault Controversy
Currently it is claimed, every aspect of Scientology gains its legitimacy from Hubbard, who is perceived as the ultimate genius of humankind. But Hubbard is no doubt the author of much of the scriptural corpus of Scientology, simple arithmetic should convince us that he cannot be the source of everything published as canonical literature.
In order to produce the entire body of texts, Hubbard would have needed to finish an unlikely number of pages every single day, year after year. Furthermore, outsiders to the movement have meticulously documented how various editions of the same text have changed over the two decades since Hubbard's death. Notwithstanding, it is an unquestioned dogma of Scientology that every word in every single volume is a faithful copy of L. Ron Hubbard's original writings. As a symbol of the unchanging nature of religious truth, copies of all the texts are kept at a safe location, stored in an underground vault.
The texts however are so many and so complex that only a few people are acquainted with the entire corpus. Furthermore, their presence in the public domain is, in fact, very restricted. The various Scientology departments that deal with the texts control them strictly, and most titles are available only through Scientology facilities, usually in relation to courses or for other educational purposes. Moreover, it is commonly understood among Scientologists that many of Hubbard's texts are as yet unpublished. Scientologists expect new texts to be released, as the organization decides to make accessible
Scientology will always and without hesitation insist that the texts are written by the founder of the religion, L. Ron Hubbard, and that no alterations have been made over the years. This, however, is questionable to say the least. As we shall see, the texts are not only preserved and reproduced but also altered and adapted to new situations, that supposedly original texts may be quite new, and that Scientology's textual tradition is malleable and therefore not as fixed and unchangeable as the organization would claim.
One of the people that have studied the narratives regarding Hubbard as found among devoted Scientologists is Dorthe Christensen. And after a meticulous survey of the available data, she concludes that the narrative about Hubbard becomes meaningful only if it is perceived as a legend or a myth, simply because the historiography upon which it builds is unable to support any other reading. For Christensen, the discursive and ritual transformation of the person L. Ron Hubbard into the institution L. Ron Hubbard, and the general process of charismatization, remain the real phenomenon. The fact that his life is mythologized is as obvious as in the cases of Jesus, Muhammad or Siddhartha Gotama. This is how religion works. Scientology,.. however, rejects this analysis altogether, and goes to great lengths to defend every detail of Hubbard's fantastic life as plain historical fact. To the external observer, it is immediately clear that the narrative about Hubbard resists any mundane verification, but in Scientology his marvels are taken for granted. This should not come as a surprise. Scientology can to all intents and purposes be characterized as a movement focused on the figure of Hubbard.
It is perfectly possible to evaluate the sacred texts of Scientology in the same manner that one understands Hubbard himself. This is not only because they are intimately linked with Hubbard, but also because they have been subjected to a similar kind of reorganized reality. The sacred texts are not simply expressions made by the sacred person. They are, in a way, manifestations of that person, and important components in the emergent religion's formation of a sacred tradition. Without Hubbard there would be no texts, and without texts there would be no Scientology. In Scientology, the construction of Hubbard as a religious ideal implies the construction of Scientology' s texts as humanity's most important treasure and vice versa. The construction of religious tradition in Scientology, consequently, rests on two components: Hubbard as an individual, and texts claimed to be written by Hubbard, and in many ways the two become one. Hubbard's portrait, which is by far Scientology's most treasured and widely used icon, refers symbolically to his message, and the message is always linked to its source.
In other words, Scientology's scriptures provide an almost prototypical example of how the charisma of a religious leader may be routinized, and transferred to another medium after his death. While the intellectual contents of the texts (and the rituals that may relate to them) remain important, the source of the texts is probably even more essential. Rather than seeing the texts as Hubbard's theoretical contribution to the salvation of mankind, I would prefer to see them as expansions or representations of the person of the dead leader, as an embodiment of the greatest man who has ever lived. In caring about the books, those who participate in the process of shaping Scientology not only preserve the intellectual legacy of Hubbard, but also create the cult that presents him as the savior of mankind.
It is implicitly postulated that Hubbard was able to produce fifty, sixty, seventy or more outstanding and extraordinary pages on Scientology every day he sat at his desk. But there is more, much more: Hubbard was also a prolific science fiction writer, and his many novels have to be included in the total calculation even if a sizeable portion of this work was published prior to his career as a religious leader. Furthermore, Hubbard is presented as the master of a multitude of disciplines, and numerous publications issued by Scientology after his death tell of his extraordinary exploits as a photographer, composer, therapist, scientist, explorer, navigator, philosopher, poet, artist, humanitarian, adventurer, soldier, scout, musician and various other things. In short, Hubbard, it is claimed, did the impossible - like most mythologized religious leaders.
However, such an exercise in arithmetic is not the most fruitful way of
approaching the issue of Hubbard's textual production. The crucial thing to
observe is that Hubbard, from a doctrinal point of view, was capable of
producing the canonical writings that have presented the path for his
In many cases, however, the mythological claim that Hubbard is the actual author of all the volumes is not questioned at all, even in academic discussions. The late Lonnie D. Kliever, professor in religious studies at the Southern Methodist University, for instance, has made a lengthy statement in order to support Scientology's claim of being a religion. He says:
Like all religions, Scientology affirms a distinctive body of religious beliefs. Individual Scientologists assimilate these beliefs through extensive individual and group study of the philosophical, technical, ethical and creedal writings of L. Ron Hubbard. Indeed, these writings provide the authoritative source for Scientology's religious beliefs. Thus, Mr. Hubbard's writings function as sacred scripture, carrying the same authoritative force for Scientology as does The Bible for Christians, The Torah for Jews, the Qur'an for Muslims, the Book of Mormons [sic] for the Church of Latter Day Saints, or Science and Health with Keys [sic] to the Scriptures for the Church of Christian Science. As such, Mr. Hubbard is regarded as the "Founder" of Scientology in a similar way that Mohammed is held as the Founder of Islam or Joseph Smith is regarded as the Founder of Mormonism.
One cannot disagree with Kliever in his conclusions, but the implicit historiography in his statement has to be questioned. In general - for simple rational reasons - we have to hypothesize that at least some of Scientology's sacred texts have been composed and revised by individuals other than Hubbard himself.
This hypothesis allows us to shift our focus away from the legend of the nearly superhuman Hubbard, and thus to survey more clearly the actual social and historical forces that brought the corpus of canonical texts into existence. This change of perspective does not present Scientology in less religious terms. On the contrary, it shows that Scientology operates in the same ways as most other religions. What Kliever's approach fails to elucidate are the complex processes of religions creativity from which the texts emerge. There is more to the texts than just their overt contents. Kliever, now focusing on Hubbard, continues as follows:
He is the only source of the religion, and he has no successor. A fundamental doctrine of the Scientology religion is that spiritual freedom can be attained only if the path outlined in these works is followed without deviation, for it is an intensively researched and workable route.
Having stolen Parsons' girl and his money, Hubbard carried on with magical practices of his own devising. Scientology attempted to reclaim documents which recorded these practices in its case against former Hubbard archivist Gerald Armstrong. Some $280,000 was paid to publishers Ralston Pilot to prevent publication of Omar Garrison's authorised biography of Hubbard. However, Garrison retained copies of thousands of Hubbard documents and showed me one which had been referred to in the Armstrong trial. The Blood Ritual is an invokation of the Egyptian goddess Hathor, performed by Hubbard during the late 1940s. As the name suggests, the ritual involved the use of blood. Hubbard mingled his own blood with that of his then wife (the girlfriend he had stolen from Parsons and with whom Hubbard contracted a bigamous marriage).
To be "on source," in Scientology's internal lingo, means to be in accordance with the doctrines attributed to Hubbard (who simply is "source"), and anything that fails to be "on source" is by definition unacceptable. What is and what is not "on source" is, of course, determined by the theological decisions of top Scientology officials, primarily those affiliated with the Religious Technology Centre (RTC), which is the prime theological agency of the entire organization. The implication of RTC's statements is, however, that no such decisions are made. The only function of the agency is to maintain Hubbard's exact words and pass them on. The authority of RTC, of course, is, as in so many other cases, based on an institutionalization of the religious leader's authority. However, the routinization of Hubbard's charisma was taken to new heights in Scientology: Hubbard was turned into a legal trade mark after his death. The names "L. Ron Hubbard," "LRH," and "Ron," as well as his instantly recognizable signature, are the legal possessions of RTC and the officially registered trademarks of the religion. RTC was established to preserve Hubbard's legacy intact, and therefore RTC is in charge of all doctrinal Scientology publications. On RTC's website one reads the following statement, which appears to have been first posted in 2004:
To ensure the purity of the religion and its Scriptures, RTC supervised a massive five-year project, only recently completed, to republish all of Mr. Hubbard's writings on Dianetics and Scientology. RTC ensured that the authenticity of each work was verified by comparing them word by word with his original manuscripts - only once RTC was satisfied that the works were accurate were they republished. RTC then helped see that archival editions of these materials were produced, thus ensuring the availability of the pure unadulterated writings of Mr. Hubbard to the coming generations. As part of this project, Mr. Hubbard's original tape-recorded lectures - most of them over three decades old - were restored using state-of-the-art technology, and then accurately transcribed. Even the translations of the Scripture are scrupulously checked for accuracy by RTC prior to any publication.
The top executive of RTC, David Miscavige, is introduced in the following terms: Mr. Miscavige has worked relentlessly to guarantee the authenticity and purity of Mr. Hubbard's technologies by ensuring that all of Mr. Hubbard's writings are verified, word for word, against original manuscripts and recordings.
Scientology's top theologian, consequently earns his favors by maintaining and reproducing Hubbard's texts, not by contributing anything himself. No innovations, no clarification, no changes of any kind are acceptable when dealing with the teachings and "technology" of Scientology; that is, the texts and the ritual-therapeutic procedures described in them. The key phrase is "purity of the religion." Hubbard, a savior and a saint, has offered mankind a path to salvation, and after his departure from this world his legacy was entrusted to an organization especially designed for that purpose.
The Vault and the Underground Church of Spiritual Technology
The Church of Spiritual Technology has dug in California and Wyoming in order to secure L. Ron Hubbard’s writings and lectures against nuclear attack. Its mandate: to build bases in various locations, and furnish them with underground vaults for storing the total life work of L. Ron Hubbard -- the millions of words he wrote or spoke in lectures -- etched on steel plates and stored in titanium containers so that his wisdom can survive a nuclear holocaust.
The task of maintaining the texts is performed with extraordinary zeal, involving activities known to few outside the movement. Scientology has, for instance, constructed an underground base in a remote spot on the outskirts of the town of Trementina, New Mexico. In deep vaults, hidden behind fences and protected by armed guards, beneath a luxury mansion, copies of Hubbard's texts are kept in order to preserve them for all time. The texts, meticulously cared for by the Church of Spiritual Technology (CST), another Scientology department (formerly known as "The L. Ron Hubbard Library"), have been transferred to special paper and platinum plates, and are stored in carefully designed titanium boxes with advanced lock systems. A gigantic version of CST's symbol has been bulldozed into the ground (and is clearly visible on Google's satellite photos on the internet) and rumor has it that the marking is supposed to guide visitors from space to Hubbard's treasure at some time in the future, perhaps after a nuclear holocaust on Earth. The compound has been the subject of some controversy, and even its very existence has been questioned. It is, however, well documented by local reporters.
Also CNN, after mentioning it in his news segment on December 1, 2005, next send a TV crew with CNN's Gary Tuchman reporting: "Two huge interlocking circles, markings on the desert soil that cannot be seen from the ground, but can be seen from the heavens." An ex- Scientology interviewed on Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees, said that "the circles are signposts for reincarnated Scientologists who come from outer space" (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0512/02/acd.01.html).
The underground compound stands as a symbol of the timelessness of Hubbard's texts and as a three-dimensional manifestation of Scientology's official proclamations regarding the "purity of Hubbard's legacy." From one perspective the building represents a step into the future: the texts are preserved for a long time to come. From another, the conservation of everything "Hubbard" puts an end to history, by emphasizing that nothing more can be said or understood. From the perspective of Scientology we live, in principle, in the epistemological end times. Whatever good may happen in the future will have Hubbard's achievements as its immediate foundation.
In 1987 some Bureau of Land Management employees discovered that the project was underway when they realized that a new dirt road had been cut illegally across public land. Thereupon investigators also found some local residents who had been hired as workers, and could describe the vault dug into the hillside.
And: "By communication dated May 10, 1989, the Houston Division of the FBI furnished the results of an interview with [redacted], who stated he had learned from people that were involved in the actual construction of the tunnel in New Mexico, that the tunnel is 600 feet long with 200 foot wings. The tunnel is gunnite lined and has four steel doors at the tunnel entrance, at the midpoint of the tunnel, and at each wing entrance. The tunnel is allegedly located 300 feet under the mesa on the ranch. [Redacted] stated that the tunnel was built by people residing in Trementina, New Mexico, but he was unable to name any of these people. He stated that the same workers were asked to relocate to California to build another tunnel there. He was told this by unknown workers.
[Redacted] stated that the debris from the construction of the tunnel was used to build a road to the base camp. [Reducted] claimed that the tunnel is 18 feet wide and 14 feet high and has a 600 amp electrical service connection. He was told this information by unknown construction workers. He stated that they are also building a two-story house over the entrance of the tunnel in order to hide the tunnel entrance. [Redacted] stated that [redacted] told him that there was a helipad at the base camp on the ranch and the helipad was needed for inspectors to land. The inspectors were allegedly from the U.S. Bureau of Mines."
Critics of Scientology include not only the usual anti-cultists, but also, and more interestingly, people who consider Hubbard's texts more important than Scientology, people who have defected because they felt that Hubbard's legacy was being misrepresented by the organization. Instead they are involved in groups and organizational networks such as Freezon,12 and Ron's Org (see, for instance, the website of the Dutch branch at www.ronsorg.nl).
These individuals can refer to Scientology's revision of history, what I have termed Scientology's revised reality, as the main problem with the organization. In a 2003 open letter advising people how to communicate with Scientologists, former member Michael Leonard Tils says: "Find out what they think about Hubbard's writings being revised over 15 years after his death. Does it make sense to them?"
Although their existence will be fiercely denied by Scientology officials, such revisions can in fact be documented, and are even defended in Scientology documents. There are at least six examples of internal "policies" that are being applied to legitimate editorial changes, amendments, omissions, and alterations in relation to Hubbard's original texts, whether in print or on tape. The oldest policy dates from as far back as 1959; the most recent is from 1973. This means that even the latest of these policy documents applied well before the doctrinal justification for textual changes. They are referred to as the reason why changes can in fact be made. Only one 'of these texts is formulated in a straightforward manner. It dates back to March 4, 1965, and is, according to former high-ranking Scientologists with whom I have spoken, written by Hubbard himself. The second paragraph (in a text entitled: "From HCO 4 March 1965RA, Issue II, TECHNICAL AND POLICY DISTRIBUTION") partly reads: "When re-releasing an old policy letter, always blue pencil out everything gone old and contradicted by later policy letters. You can still salvage a lot that still applies - a surprising amount. But try to cut out the contradictions with our modern policy where they exist." It is interesting to observe that the text deals only with technical issues, not with the substance of doctrinal matters. However, this seems to be the closest the texts get to explicitly allowing alterations in Scientology materials. In another text ("From HCO PL 30 July 1973, SCIENTOLOGY, CURRENT STATE OF THE SUBJECT AND MATERIALS"), Hubbard (apparently) addresses the issue of transcribing tape recordings. One sentence reads: "There is undoubtedly a considerable amount of neating up that I could do, including making all materials more readily available." By this, the text continues, Hubbard means "developing a dictionary of terms," but also "filling in incidental gaps where material may not have been fully recorded."
Clearly, the text talks about clarifying the meaning of what is being said on the tapes, but appears, taken together with the previous quotation, to permit creative interpretations that allow those who are in charge to handle the texts more freely, in order to achieve the perceived goals of Scientology. Authority, therefore, does not restrict itself to the texts, but is primarily in the hands of those who control the texts, in effect RTC. To those of Scientology's critics who are "dissenters" because they revere Hubbard and deny the legitimacy of Scientology as an organization, these "policies" cannot justify textual alterations.
There are many examples of critical surveys of Hubbard's texts by such
dissenters. One of these is found on a site maintained by the organization
VERITAS, which seeks to protect Hubbard's work against Scientology. After a
brief statement about "textual fraud," an example is given in which
the 1965 and 1997 versions of the book Scientology: A New Slant on Life are
compared. The cover of the 1965 version presents Hubbard as the author, whereas
in the 1997 publication his name is gone and a number of changes, sometimes
insignificant but at other times more Important, have been made. VERIT AS
VERSION ONE is the version originally authored by L. Ron Hubbard. It says right on the cover, "by L. Ron Hubbard." It was copyrighted in 1965 by L. Ron Hubbard. He is listed with the Library of Congress as the author. VERSION TWO is a version first copyrighted in 1988 - two years after L. Ron Hubbard died. The Library of Congress shows L Ron Hubbard's name as part of the TITLE; the author that is listed (for New Matter) is NOT L. Ron Hubbard - it is "Church of Scientology International.”
A sample of VERITAS's analysis can illustrate some of the changes. The two versions are simply presented side by side, paragraph by paragraph, with additions or omissions marked in color. The older version has, for instance, this formulation (there are many others - this is a random sample): "Actually a little child derives all of his 'how' of life from the grace he puts upon life," while the more recent version reads: "Actually, a little child derives all of his pleasure in life from the grace he puts upon life." This alteration certainly changes the feel of the text, but it may be hard to judge how substantial this change of phraseology really is. However, one has to tread cautiously here. Very small changes in religious texts have been known to cause immense conflict. It is easier to understand the significance of the more comprehensive changes. VERITAS continues:
Not only are there subtle contextual changes in the book, there are eight (8) chapters that were in the original edition which have been completely expunged from the current edition. But there are 12 new chapters that were not in the original book. Could some or all of these be the "some text" that is referred to in the Library of Congress abstract? ... Despite these changes, there is no mention anywhere on the outside packaging, or in any of the advertising, that would alert a potential buyer of the book.
The contentious issue in this connection is not the new meaning of the text, but the very fact that changes have been made, despite persistent Scientology denials. We furthermore learn that changes in this particular book apparently fit a pattern. Scientology's opponents in VERITAS say:
And it may be far bigger than just this one book. "New Slam on Life" is just one amongst at least 913 titles in Library of Congress records with the author listed as "Church of Scientology International, employer for hire." The "new matter" for many of those works includes writing, editing, and compilation, strongly suggesting that they each have been changed in some way from the original works. You may be surprised at some of the titles on that list (including the venerable -Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health"), so we selected a few samples from the Library of Congress records [here a link is provided] and put them here on the site.
The owner of the copyrights for all these "other" works, so we are informed, is - the Church of Spiritual Technology (CST), here presenting itself as the "L. Ron Hubbard Library." VERITAS concludes:
So they not only own all the original L.Ron Hubbard copyrights, they also own all the "new" versions, the "look-alike" versions - authored or co-authored by others, but being sold carrying the name of L. Ron Hubbard. Few people have ever known anything about this "L. Ron Hubbard Libtary."
From this point on VERITAS speculates who the actual copyright holders might be, and it is suggested that Hubbard's work is in fact owned and controlled by people with financial, not religious, interests.
In order to understand how Scientology thus is currently being constructed as a religious tradition, it is necessary to acknowledge that the mythical rendering of time and history is much more important than "history" in the everyday (secular) sense of the word. Here I have to emphasize that "mythical formations" are different from "lies." Both categories refer to things "untrue" in the strict sense of the word, but their very dissimilar contexts create a significant difference. It is not a fact that Jesus walked on water, but it is not a lie when Christians claim that he did. In the same way, I would argue, is it not a fact that Hubbard wrote everything published by Scientology, but neither is it a lie when Scientology claims that he did. Things that are not factual may easily be appreciated as true in religious contexts. This, in a sense, is what religion is all about.
The anti-cultist answer to this way of seeing things is well known. Their argument is that Scientology (or RTC and CST more specifically) are lying deliberately and they know it. When Jesus' miracles are proclaimed in a Christian church, however, the same critics may perceive this as an expression of the believers' faith - disregarding what they may think of the reality behind the claim.
The real difference, however, lies elsewhere, namely in the possibility of investigating the claims" The rejection of Jesus' miracles will always be circumstantial, since there are no sources to investigate. The question of Hubbard's personal authorship lends itself to a much more concrete inspection: it is certainly possible to check whether Hubbard has been aided by ghost-writers, and ifhis texts have been edited or altered since his death. All the evidence is in the sources.
Various anti-cult groups have referred to Scientology documents that seem to indicate that lying is taught to church officials as an acceptable strategy. It is correct that Hubbard apparently saw lying as a precondition for power, (See US District Court, Central District of California, Fishman Case # 91-6426 HLH (T x) Continued (Exhibit B) but in context this is something he warns about and takes precautions against, rather than encourages. However, it would be naive to expect individual Scientologists and Scientology as an organization to abstain from lying, even if they affirm the contrary (why should they be different from any other social group?). In that sense Scientology's opponents may be quite right.
What they tend to forget is that Scientology's strategy arises from a religious necessity, since any authoritative sacred text needs some form of mythological justification in order to render it plausible. No text will be considered sacred unless it is clouded in mystery or accompanied by a narrative providing it with an extraordinary origin. In fact, what makes a text sacred is almost by definition what is said about it, not what it says itself. This is why every authoritative religious text will be accompanied by some kind of legitimating myth, a story which backs up the claims of the sacred text, but which has no obligation to respect "facts."
In the case of Scientology, we can identify a number of reasons why the construction of sacred tradition takes place in the way it does. The basic structure of the Scientology religion is this: Hubbard, unaided, and the first person in human history to do so, reached all the necessary insights needed to penetrate into the deepest secrets of the cosmos. He made himself a unique individual in the history of humankind, and remains unparalleled in virtually all walks of life. The status of Scientology's scripture depends on the myths told about L. Ron Hubbard, and because Hubbard is a historical figure, the boundaries between the mythical origin of the texts and their later history dissolve in Scientological narratives. Myth is, so to say, encompassed in history, and no distinction between the two is attempted in Scientology's way of seeing things. Neither are the differences between the origin and the transmission of the texts considered. According to Scientology, Hubbard is "source," and Scientology is the guardian of" source."
On this basis Scientology creates a double time frame. On the one hand it has great ambitions of moving ahead: with a characteristically self aggrandizing touch, Scientology claims to be the fastest-growing religion in the world. The future is supposed to see the world turn Scientological. At the same time, however, Scientology is firmly rooted in the past, claiming that no dogmatic or ideological change is possible. In other words, the world will be changed on the basis of unchanging knowledge, the teachings ofL. Ron Hubbard. In one respect history is seen as open and dynamic. In another it is closed, because human understanding, embodied in Hubbard, has reached its apex. While the organization must move on, Hubbard's ideology and thoughts are final, in fact signifYing that human intellectual history has come to an end. From this point on we may go in any direction, depending on how we make use of Hubbard's legacy, but there is no more to learn. Hubbard understood it all.
This explains why Scientology's various branches continue to fuel the veneration surrounding Hubbard. Scientology's proclaimed intention to create a global revolution of the human mind, to "Clear the Planet," that is to help every individual to a certain state of religious consciousness, is in fact Hubbard's plan. The organization is, in a way, his "body" much in the same way as the Christian church is identified as the "body of Christ." Finally, as we have seen, the sacred texts of Scientology are also an institutionalization of everything "Hubbard." This taken into consideration, the salvation of humankind (or the single individual) depends on direct access to Hubbard's legacy as it incarnates in Scientology's organizations and the texts through which he is routinized.
The religious tradition that has emerged over the years has to fulfill two different purposes: it has to provide the means for salvation (ritual therapy, intellectual education, etc.), and at the same time encourage the adoration of Hubbard. And this, is best done by unconditionally insisting that the entire bulk of sacred writings was indeed produced by the soteriological agent himself, Hubbard. And this is exactly what Scientology does. Plus since there is no obvious way for Scientology to renounce Hubbard as the sole "source," the only author of Scientology's texts. As long as this stands, Hubbard will probably remain a prolific post-mortem writer.
Daniele Hervieu-Uger's theory about religion
as a chain of memory. According to Hervieu-Uger,
"religion is the ideological, symbolic and social device by which the
individual and collective awareness of belonging to a lineage of believers is
created and controlled." (Hervieu-Uger, Religion
as a Chain of Memory, back cover, London, Polity Press)
However, modern societies are no longer "societies of memory." (Ibid.,pp.123f.)
Rather, groups and individuals will often choose to inscribe themselves into new contexts where a new historiography can develop. This mechanism is readily visible in a number of new religions. The devoted members of Scientology, for instance, will to a large extent identify their own personal history with that of the organization, thereby providing a common ground for members of the group, who otherwise will typically lack a shared history. This identification is in turn an important precondition for social solidarity. In order to maintain this social mechanism, Scientology deploys a myth of stability and changelessness with regard to Hubbard's teachings, and as long as this myth is accepted at face value, the system works. Once it falls apart, the credibility and relevance of the organization evaporate. People may then seek other organizations, where they feel that Hubbard's legacy is preserved in a more trustworthy way, or they may leave the Scientological milieu entirely.
Dealing with these aspects of Scientology's religious culture may subject the researcher to Scientological retribution. Those who simply oppose Scientology, whether they are anti-cultists, former members, or critical reporters, are often singled out for attack, while academics with a more nuanced approach are usually left to pursue their research as they see fit. This, quite obviously, is due to the fact that Scientology will frequently make use of scholars of religion in its strategic efforts to be recognized as a "bona fide" religion, either in legal terms or in the eyes of the public.
And playing the "lawyer card" elsewhere, probably comes as a natural consequence of Scientology's deliberate commodification of its religious services. The organization sells a product, and the product has to be preserved and promoted through branding and PR, and protected against other forces at work in the marketplace. The history of legal proceedings is also a part of the way in which Scientology constructs its own tradition. Indeed, the self-perception as a persecuted minority that needs legal protection is an important component of what it means to be a Scientologist.
Furthermore, as Scientology sees it, the legal strategy is a way of defending the sacred texts against misrepresentation and propaganda. From an outside perspective, this might instead be viewed as creating space for handling the texts in any way the organization wishes, including changing them for various purposes. The legal ways of business life are easily transferred into the realm of religion, because in Scientology important aspects of religion have been transferred into the realm of business. The two realms go hand in hand, and naturally lead to the possibility of handling religious texts by means of secular law. Scientology's sacred texts are generally placed in the same social and legal context as most books and therefore subjected to the same rules and risks as any publication. This integration into secular structures is also a part of Scientology's tradition.
The organization goes to considerable lengths to control the status and fate of its books, not only through the efforts of RTC and CST, but also by distributing all its materials through its own publishing house.
Thus texts not written by Hubbard, are presented as if they were, because doctrine demands it. Those who actually are behind the post-Hubbard texts simply cannot appear as authors or editors. Their only possible role is that of caretakers. It is interesting in this connection to note that no individuals apart from RTC top executive David Miscavige are mentioned in relation to the publication of texts written by or attributed to Hubbard. The texts are issued by agencies or institutions, not published by persons with individual responsibilities.
Conclusion of P.1
Thus like many of the religious activities later found within the New Age spectrum, Hubbard, in developing Scientology, was blending secular and religious inspirations: on the one hand his perspective reflects a critique of established science, while on the other he considered his inventions scientific and he had scientific ambitions for his creations without ever really exhibiting a scientifically valid understanding of the premises of science.
The basic idea of Scientology is that man is a composite being of body, mind and spirit. The most important unit is the spirit, i.e. the true individual, called a "thetan". The basic problem is that in a very early stage of their development, thetans were led to believe that they were dependent on the physical universe, and thus on bodies, in order to function on this planet. Scientology aspires to teach its practitioners how to gain the gnosis that the thetan is not dependent upon anyone or anything in the physical universe, and is capable of taking control over himself and the events in his or her existence. Each thetan or individual has existed through an endless amount of incarnations on this planet and others, during hundreds of millions of years.
Each of these alleged instances has left the thetan with certain types of karmic experience, which are still present on his or her "timetrack". Through the ritual practices("auditing") and courses of Scientology, a person can reach insight about these matters and ritually confront his or her mythological past, thereby improving his or her happiness, relationships, physical condition and individual spiritual truth. ""Scientology is a practical and non-dogmatic religion in that the ideas developed by Hubbard from 1950 to his death in 19 86 are not seen as truths that must be unconditionally accepted by each individual scientologist. The truth is "what is true for you". On a theoretical level, this rhetoric implies the idea that the scientological practice is thought to work for everyone no matter how the person's conceptualizations of the world might be. On a practical level, however, obviously individuals engaged in the ritual practice of Scientology find the resources for their own individual stories in the reservoir made up of the extended Hubbard material. Therefore, in practice, being a scientologist does not imply seeking high and low for theological elements fit for one' own construction of meaning but, rather, consists in integrating the Hubbardian truths in one's own life. It is a very individual matter how far this integration is taken, but three things seem always to be present in scientologists' conceptualizations, e.g., the idea that a person is a spiritual being, the idea of the timetrack, and the appreciation of Hubbard's outstanding qualities as a human being. Still, it is very individual how reflective scientologists are. Many do, in fact, seem to apply the principles of Hubbard in their practice without speculating on their truth value. Practice is the central issue; gnosis is individual - although certain incidents on the timetrack, according to Scientology, have turned out to be common to all people.
Scientology offer its practitioners a salvational path to individual enlightenment, the "Bridge to Total Freedom", and each practitioner moves up through the extensive hierarchy through a long series of initiations in a codified prescribed sequence. The goal is to move the individual to higher and higher states of consciousness and orders of existence towards the ultimate enlightenment. Furthermore, the intention is to make the person capable of existing without the deplorable dependence upon the body and the physical universe.
Because of the nature of its worldview, Scientology can be seen as belonging within the domain of Western esotericism. However, Scientology can also be called "esoteric" in the sense of "secret religious tradition", for at least three interrelated reasons. First, its system is considered to gradually initiate the individual into higher and higher states of awareness and gnosis. Without these initiations there can be no progress and no salvation. Second, the hierarchy is constituted by several steps of which the upper levels, called the OT levels (OT meaning Operating Thetan), are considered harmful to persons with no suitable initiation. The steps must be taken in the correct sequence and persons already initiated cannot speak to others about their ritual experience. Although it is known in Scientology circles that the truths revealed in several of the OT levels are obtainable in Hubbard's publications available to all scientologists, for instance Scientology: A History of Man (1952), discipline and selfdiscipline are supposed to prevent scientologists from trying to obtain the gnosis outside the context of the ritual initiations. Third, it is not only the presence of specific secret teachings and rituals that makes the religion esoteric. The system of guidance and maintenance of the religious secrets not only demarcates initiates from not-yet-initiates within the religion itself, but also implies that the religion holds certain religious truths that can never be obtained by outsiders. Esotericism in the sense of secrecy is therefore an important tool of power not only inside the religious organization but also in Scientology's relations to the surrounding world. This lack of transparency and its distinctive secretiveness is one cause for the accusations Scientology has faced in the public sphere over the years. Still, it is clear that it is an important element in Scientology's self-perception that Scientology is protecting the truths, gnosis and the road to freedom discovered and systematized by Hubbard while, at the same time, protecting individuals from seeking this knowledge without being properly prepared.
During the Church's fifty years of history, the atmosphere between the church and its surroundings has been tense. A number of individuals, e.g. former scientologists and their families, have taken the church to court because of financial controversies or due to accusations of abuse, for instance in regard to contracts. The Church, in turn, has taken individuals to court on accusations such as e.g. infringement of copyright on secret documents. Furthermore, several countries, e.g. Germany, have run campaigns not only against the church but also against individual scientologists because of a fear of what is perceived as the totalitarian character of the organization. These court cases and governmental attacks on the church have been supported by massive media campaigns throughout the Western world IlQt only in regard to the specific actions taken by the governments and other institutions but also, on a more general level, because of a general distrust of what is considered a totalitarian multinational that is accused of harassing individuals in and outside the Church, of tiring out its critics, and of publicly throwing suspicion on any individual who does not sympathize with church practice. The secrecy surrounding the soteriology of the Church seems to contribute to this tense atmosphere.
Postscript 26 January 2008
Posted on the Internet on 24 January 2008, a day after this article went online, Jenna Hill, the niece of Scientology leader David Miscavige took exception to a 15-page denunciation of Andrew Morton's released Tom Cruise: an Unauthorized Biography, in which Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw dismissed it as a “bigoted defamatory assault replete with lies”.
One thing, in particular, outraged her. Pouw had categorically denied that the movement forced members to break off contact with relatives considered hostile to the movement.This practice, known as disconnection, means former members who have either quit or been cast out of Scientology lose all contact with loved ones still inside.
Jenna knew from personal experience that this particular claim was a lie. In the letter copied underneath Jenna went on to give examples of how Scientology's leader David Miscavige, her own uncle, had effectively torn his own family apart by enforcing the disconnection policy.
Dear Karin [Pouw, spokesperson for official Scientology],
I could not resist the opportunity to write you this letter having read your official rebuttal regarding the Tom Cruise biography.
I have been involved in the Church of Scientology since birth. David Miscavige as you well know is my father's brother, making him my uncle.
In fact you and I actually know each other although not very well.
I cannot comment on your responses regarding the personal life of Tom Cruise because I know nothing about this, but I am absolutely shocked at how vehemently you insist upon not only denying the truths that have been stated about the Church in that biography, but then take it a step further and tell outright lies.
You go so far as to state:
"7. Does Scientology encourage their members not to speak to their family if they don't support the religion?
This allegation is not only false, it is the opposite of what the Church believes and practices." -Karin Pouw
As you well know, my parents officially left the Church when I was 16 in 2000. I, having been separated from them at the age of 12 and thoroughly engulfed in the beliefs of the Church since birth decided not to go with them.
Not only was I not allowed to speak to them, I was not allowed to answer a phone for well over a year, in case it was them calling me. To give exact specifics, this "law" was enforced ruthlessly by one Tracye Danilovoch - the local representative for the Religious Technology Center - who intercepted all letters from my parents (and my friends). She would then pass them on to Marc Rathbun (the then 2nd in command of the Church) and Mike Rinder - who happens to be the former head of YOUR office - "The Office of Special Affairs" (you can thank me later for not elaborating on this one). Only after they had seen the letters and decided it was ok for me to see them would I receive some of them while sitting in a board room while they watched me read them and asked me to comment on them.
I was allowed to visit my parents from the age of 16-22, once a year for a maximum of 3-4 days, but that was only after they (my parents) threatened legal action if the Church got in the way of this and even then only after I underwent a "Security Check Confessional" before I saw them and immediately after I came back. A security check is interrogation (usually about if I intend on leaving the Church, or finding out if my parents have said anything bad about the Church, etc.) while being attached to an electrophsychometer which is similar to a lie detector. This happened every single time I saw then (which was never more than 3 or 4 days a year).
For a more recent example of families being destroyed, My Aunt Jennifer Pantermeuhl has recently contacted my parents and let them know that she can no longer speak to them or be in contact with them because they speak to and live near, my other Aunt Sarah Mortland. Sarah is my mom's and Jennifer's sister. This is because Sarah is not in favor with the Church. Jennifer also contacted my brother Sterling as well as the rest of the family for the same reason most of whom had to lie to her and said they weren't talking to Sarah for fear of getting found out about.
Another good example would be when my other brother, Justin, was in Florida a few years ago and was on his way to visit our Aunt Denise Gentile (our father's sister and David Miscavige's twin) with his girlfriend. Denise abruptly cancelled while they were on their way over because the Church would not approve - because he was an ex- member. Not to mention the fact that Kirsten Caetano (a member of the Church's Office of Special Affairs - the very same organization you belong to) was contacting Justin several times when he was in Florida working, telling him that he needed to leave the state because he is an ex-member and his presence at the "mecca of scientology" was disturbing to the church. Kristen has admitted to my face that she did this when I confronted her and even went so far as to admit that she lied to my brother after denying the incident. This is the least of what Kirsten Caetano has done!
You cite this quote from L.Ron Hubbard about what the Church believes with regards to families..... yes we know what the Church claims to "believe" and has written in its policies! - BUT do they practice that? Absolutely not!
I can name at least 5 friends off the top of my head who's family members are not allowed to speak to them without being themselves ousted from the Church and prevented from communicating with other members of their family and even their children still involved in the Church lest THEY too be ousted! They cant speak to their children because they have left the Church on their own determinism. This is a widespread practice and if you dare deny it I have a list of all of there names together-these people's families are crying every day because they can't speak to their children who did nothing but leave the Church of their own free will.
If I am in fact wrong and you want to prove me as such, then allow me and my family to be in contact with our family members that are still part of the Church such as my Grandpa, Ron Miscavige, and his wife, Becky. Allow the same of my friends. And don't even start with the, "it's their choice all along story..." -nobody is going to buy that, there are way too many destroyed families for that to be true.
I am tempted to take up many of the other accusations you categorically deny in your novel, but for the purpose of keeping this letter readable and focused on the most important part (family) I will resist.
I will suggest however that maybe you should spend the manpower and time of drafting your masterpiece rebuttal - why don't you take the high road for once and put that time towards repairing the families you have destroyed, starting with the family of David Miscavige himself - hell, if Scientology can't keep his family together - then why on earth should anyone believe the Church helps bring families together!
Best, Jenna Miscavige Hill